FrontRunners: Upper Class

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The Devialet D-Premier (, a 1.25-inch-thick, 240-watt-per-channel stereo amplifier made in France, remains as cool as it looks. Audiophile amps are ranked by design type, with Class A models positioned at the top, although they consume obscene amounts of electricity and cast off enough heat to warm a living room. Highly efficient Class D amps are cool to the touch, but they lack the sonic gravitas of Class A models. The $16,000 D-Premier offers the best of both classes, employing Devialet’s proprietary Analog Digital Hybrid technology to produce Class A sound with Class D efficiency.